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Number of Premier League teams down to 12 from 2024-25

The BOV Premier League will go down to 12 teams as from the 2024-25 season. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The MFA General Assembly approved a motion on Thursday filed by the Executive Board that will see the number of Premier League teams reduced to 12 teams, starting from season 2024-25.

The motion was passed by two-thirds of the majority of members present at the meeting as dictated by Article 77 of the MFA Statute.

During the past few weeks, the Maltese Premier League had been in constant talks to revamp the format of the Maltese championship and the presidents of the clubs forming part of the Maltese top flight have voted in favour of reducing the number of clubs in the top flight from 14 to 12 teams.

According to the motion filed yesterday, rules “which may in any way affect promotion and/or relegation issues shall not come into force at least until the commencement of the second football season following the coming or current football season.”

Discussions will now take place at Competitions Committee level to determine the mode of promotions and relegations necessary to attain a National League composition with 12 teams in the top tier, 16 teams in the Challenge League, and 25 in the Amateur League. These numbers had already been agreed upon between the respective divisions.

MFA president Bjorn Vassallo said that there is an agreement between the Malta FA and the Malta Premier League that the two entities will be responsible for the organisation of the Maltese top-flight from season 2024-25.

“The Malta FA and the Malta Premier League will be jointly-responsible for this autonomous championship with the football governing body in charge of the licensing and the disciplinary aspect of the league while the commercial aspect will be the responsibility of the Malta Premier League.

“On the other hand, the regulation aspect will be taken care of by both entities.”

During his speech, Vassallo spoke about last week’s UEFA Executive Committee elections where he failed to win one of the eight seats available on the European governing body’s top brass.

“Still, there were a lot of positives to take and in fact, I was one of few presidents that were nominated by UEFA president Aleksandar Ceferin to form part of a board that will study the new strategy that will be implemented by the governing body in the coming years,” Vassallo said.

“I knew that such a nomination would reflect in the result of the UEFA Exco elections but my first interest has always been to be committed to football. In the coming months, I will continue to build stronger relationships and remain committed so that certain subjects will be pushed forward in the major fora on the continent.

“In particular to reduce the competitive imbalance at all levels, including the domestic championships, as well as pushing for bigger solidarity payments for countries who are not represented in group stages of UEFA competitions.”

Meanwhile, the audited financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2022 were approved by the General Assembly.

Financial shortfall

The financial report, presented by Malta FA Treasurer Ivan Mizzi, shows a total operating income of €9.43 million while the total expenditure was €11.09 million.

“The financial shortfall had been predicted as a result of the significant loss of income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years and the elevated costs to implement and sustain the then mandatory health protocols among other things,” Mizzi explained.

“Adherence to the robust recovery plan introduced by the Association last year and the financial projections in 2022 required a number of interventions to keep spending under control with a view to achieving a more positive financial year in 2023.

“Furthermore, the Association has knowingly sought to absorb the financial hit caused by the pandemic while supporting its members and protecting the conditions of its personnel.

“While the association has been actively working to reduce its costs, these measures have not affected the progress of key initiatives and projects, especially in the technical sector.”

Following the commencement of works on the new National Football Centre at the Malta FA Training Grounds in 2022, this project is progressing at the projected pace.

The approval of the financial statements for the year 2022 follows the endorsement by the Association’s Executive Board of a balanced budget for 2023.

Mark Tanti has been approved as a member of the Malta FA Executive Board in representation of the Challenge League. Mr Tanti fills the seat vacated by Joe Gauci who resigned earlier this year.

Dr Ronald Cuschieri has been re-appointed chairman of the Malta FA Appeals Board, replacing Chief Justice Emeritus Joe Azzopardi following the latter’s appointment as Commissioner for Standards in Public Life.

Dr Cuschieri will resume the role of chairman for the remaining part of the mandate.

The General Assembly approved the re-appointment of Vincent Curmi & Associates as external auditors of the Malta FA.

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